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Sales Performance

Made Simple:
Three Drivers of Effective Coaching
How to build, maximize and sustain sales performance.


402.805.4238 W W W. E C S E L L I N S T I T U T E . C O M

3 2 01 S O U T H 3 3 R D S T R E E T, L I N C O L N , N E 6 8 5 0 6

1 Introduction 3
A Brief History of Leadership & Performance
The Sales Coach

2 Motivation and the 3 Drivers of Effective Coaching 8

Peformance Driver #1: Management 13
Peformance Driver #2: Leadership 20
Peformance Driver #3: The Catalytic Factor 23

3 Development: The Underrated Role in Performance 28

A Different View

4 Summary 32

About the Authors 34


Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.
1 Introduction

Consider the following

If you were a white collar worker in the 1980s, you wouldnt have spent one minute of
your day sorting through email, but within five years you were expected to respond to
50+ daily requests from colleagues, associates, customers, family members and old college
buddies. Today the average office worker receives and sends almost 150 emails each day.

If you were a business leader in the 1950s, you committed to an average of four to seven
performance imperatives. Todays leaders commit to 25 to 40.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, todays learner will have 10 to 14 jobs by the
age of 38.

The biggest movement changing our world (the social media revolution) is more under-
stood and led by those in their20s.

The millennial generation (Gen Y) considers themselves loyal to a company after 18 Simply stated, as the world
months of employment. changes, so should the way in
Email opened from smart phones jumped 80% during a six month window in 2012. which we manage and lead
sales people and teams.
In 2010, 21.4 million websites were added. In 2011, 300 million were added.

Knowledge, used as power, is no longer wielded by the select few in management. We

are now in a knowledge era enabled by technology that allows everyone to be in the
know. Customers, competitors and those on our teams may know as much, if not more,
than management.

Flash dances at your local mall, riots, overthrown governments, most any world changing
event, can now (and likely will) begin in a college dorm room with a text, tweet or post.

Throughout history, management approaches to improving work place, and specifically

sales team performance, have been slow to adapt to the advancement of different industries,
as well as societal changes. But new discoveries should shape our understanding of what
motivates people. As new economies develop and Gen Y continues to enter the workforce,
management approaches should evolve to accommodate new types of workers. There are
constant scientific discoveries about how people think and feel that should provide insight on
how we can tap into their need to achieve. Yet in spite of these changes to world economies,
the workforce, and the scientific understanding of people, we still utilize archaic manage-
ment approaches with our teams. Simply stated, as the world changes, so should the way in
which we manage and lead sales people and teams.

In our sales world, where team success is measured by hitting a number, we employ most
every strategy to hit our goals. We define processes so we can have efficient execution. We
employ never ending searches for time saving, cutting edge technologies. We develop strate-
gic plans so we can have predictable revenue outcomes. We manage sales activity to ensure
we hit our quarterly and annual targets. We constantly strive to do more, always looking for
the next great growth tool and technology.
1 Introduction

Too often, sales leaders stop with the above. They see the management of tools, processes, tech-
nology and data as their primary role. They naively believe the above mentioned management
mediums are the only items they can affect that lead to increases in performance. That is, they
try to plan and control their way to exponential growth. Sadly, most sales leaders will never see
the performance improvement teams can produce if they were adept at working beyond manage-
ment. Please dont misunderstand, managing the right items within sales is needed and can tem-
porarily raise the numbers, but without utilizing all the drivers of performance, research shows
that organic growth will inevitably wane and in most cases, sales results will eventually decline.

This book is not about adopting the latest leadership fad, employing the hottest sales technology,
or utilizing new management methods. This is about sales performance. It is about how to
build, maximize and sustain performance through the unparalleled power that only a coach can
This is about sales
create from a deliberately constructed team of sales professionals.
performance. It is about
how to build, maximize and
Logic dictates that sales will not grow without first intellectualizing what drives sustain performance through
performance of individuals and teams. Only when this learning occurs can it then be
the unparalleled power that
converted to action, and without action there is no effective change. This book will
only a coach can create from a
not only help readers learn about the drivers of performance, but also how to convert
learning to action.
deliberately constructed team
of sales professionals.

Before we get too far, lets bring some clarity to our verbiage:
When we refer to the position of manager, we are referring to one in a role that
is accountable for leading a team to achieve a goal. This can encompass everything
from a Chief Sales Officer to a front line sales manager.

Most examples used in this book refer to sales teams, for the preponderance of our
research is from sales departments, researching both sales reps and management.

Other research referred to in this book was gathered by friend and colleague Dr.
Mary Uhl-Bien and her esteemed colleagues in the leadership research field.

The term coach will be used as a verb as well as a noun, a strategic role most every
manager should perfect.

Similarly, leader may be used interchangeably with manager and coach, but will
also be described in understandable detail as a behavior the most effective managers

1 Introduction

A Brief History of Leadership & Performance

Why is it every time I ask for a pair of hands they come with a brain attached?

In the industrial age, where the study of management began, we saw the rise of a man-
ufacturing approach to leadership. The focus was on creating consistent production
processes to ensure predictable outcomes in the delivery of quality products (think of
Fords assembly line). Precise planning and execution became paramount, and so tight
controls on workers were put into place. Little focus was placed on human relations and
the needs of the workforce in order to increase productivity. The general attitude was
you receive an honest wage, I expect an honest days work. This was not wrong, it was
just how it was done. This era is best remembered for its top-down, authoritative style
of leadershipmy way or the highway.

In the 1950s, half of all workers produced goods that accounted for 60% of our econom-
ic output, but by the time the 70s hit, manufacturing was becoming less of a dominant
force in our countrys economy. Service-based businesses became the major player on
the landscape and by 2010 they accounted for 66% of the U.S. output and 70% of all jobs.
As we entered the era of increased service-based businesses, we saw a shift away from
the authoritative management style of the past and the rise of servant leadership as a
way to engage new kinds of workers. With the emphasis on meeting customer needs,
leaders also began to understand the importance of taking care of the workers that were
serving their customers. So they began to take active interest in the needs, goals and
motivations of their employees.

In the last two decades, we have entered a knowledge economy where capturing and
deploying information drives much of the countrys most significant business growth.
Technology changes along with the flattening of our world means the inputs that affect
our businesses, and specifically our sales departments, are now numerous, disparate
and rapidly changing. In essence, we have entered an era of business complexity that
is marked by a constant barrage of data and unpredictable consequences. And as weve
seen historically, a new type of economy and workforce creates a paradigm shift in sales
leadership and our approach to improving individual and team performance.

The era of the sales manager/leader needing to behave more like a coach
is now upon us.

1 Introduction

The Sales Coach

Coaching is not a component within the sales manager role;

managing is now a component of the new coaching role.

The word coach triggers association with athletic teams, for which the job description Motivation is what drives
is simple: to win. Indeed, the role of coaching in athletics encompasses the same key discretionary effort from those
elements of effectively leading a sales team. Dr. Peter Jensen, a sports psychologist for on our teams, and improved
the Canadian Olympic team and guest professor in sales management at the Queens discretionary effort leads to
University in Toronto, says there is no tighter correlation from coaching athletics to more sales.
coaching business, than in sales management. The coach must manage processes and
outputs, lead and inspire, strategize, recruit and push (and sometimes pull) their team
to achieve maximum performance. In addition to being more robust than previous
descriptors of the manager role, the title and role of a coach more clearly defines what is
required in sales to consistently succeed.

Though we hear the term coach with increasing frequency, it is often referred to only as
an action and not a position. As a verb the word coach, though valuable, has previously
been too limited in scope. A sales coach is a positiona strategic position. And a sales
coach has a three-fold purpose:
1. Manage sales team processes and output

2. Create a collaborative leadership environment

3. Utilize the catalytic factor in relationships with those on their team

The following sections will not only cover the three drivers mentioned above, but we
will begin with a look at motivation. The result of effective utilization of all three drivers
is enhanced individual and team motivation. Motivation is what drives discretionary
effort from those on our teams, and improved discretionary effort leads to more sales.
Sales coaches not only want everyones discretionary effort, they want it sustained in
perpetuity. In that spirit, lets begin with the end in mind.

2 Research on sales rep motivation and the role of the manager

Motivation and
the Three Drivers
of Effective

2 Motivation and the Three Drivers of Effective Coaching

If you want to build a ship, dont drum up people together to collect wood
and dont assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the
endless immensity of the sea.

As more research is done on

motivation, it is becoming clear
that when goals are complex
and require more planning,
Motivation is one of the biggest challenges sales managers face in leading their teams. thought or analysis, simple
We teach our sales reps the skills they need to be successful. We give them specific goals rewards and consequences can
and make our expectations clear. We follow up with them to ensure that execution hap- actually hinder productivity.
pens. We strive to do all the right things to motivate them to achieve. But still many of
our team members dont follow through. So what are we doing wrong? Why wont our
teams perform? Why arent they motivated to achieve at higher levels?

The answer to what creates motivation is not an easy one. Traditionally, the business
world has employed carrot and stick approaches, creating rewards for achievement and
consequences for non-achievement. When tasks are relatively straightforward and the
focus is just on execution, this type of motivation works well. However, as more research
is done on motivation, it is becoming clear that when goals are complex and require
more planning, thought or analysis, simple rewards and consequences can actually hin-
der productivity.

In his groundbreaking work on motivation, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What
Motivates Us, author Daniel Pink examined four decades worth of scientific research into
motivation. The data and Pinks findings reveal that the more complex the task someone
is executing, the less effective traditional carrot and stick motivation methods become
(ask yourself if what and how you sell is becoming more or less complex). This is because
rewards can keep people from looking for new and necessary solutions because they are
too narrowly focused on just executing the task. Instead, research shows the real key to
staying motivated in a more complex environment is finding the opportunity to direct
our own lives (autonomy), the desire to get better and better at something that matters
(mastery), and the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than
ourselves (purpose). 9
2 Motivation and the Three Drivers of Effective Coaching

Interested in the research of Pink and other experts, EcSell Institute decided to further
explore motivation, specifically in relation to the needs of sales reps in todays selling

Just like with every other aspect of business, driving sales is no longer as simple for sales
reps as it once was. As consumers and businesses have become savvy, selling to them
requires more in-depth knowledge, critical thinking and problem-solving skills to under-
stand their needs and devise solutions. No longer is just making dials, getting meetings
and holding closing calls sufficient for a rep to meet their sales goal. With the selling
environment becoming more complex and requiring more critical thinking and prob-
lem solving from our reps, it stands to reason that popular carrot and stick approaches
can diminish a sales reps motivation. But if traditional rewards and consequences dont
work, then what can a sales manager do to keep their reps fully engaged and driven to
succeed? By using the data gathered in our Through the Eyes of the Sales Rep study,
EcSell Institute sought to answer this question.

In our research, we asked questions of over 1,000 sales reps to understand the various
factors that help them achieve better sales results. Specifically, we examined which sales
management skills were most relevant to keeping reps motivated.

We first measured how effectively the reps felt their managers were at motivating them
to achieve their sales goals. We then asked the reps to rate their managers skillset across
a variety of areas. Using this data, we compared the reps responses to identify the
most significant correlations between the reps ratings of how effectively their manager
motivated them to achieve and their ratings of their managers skills. These correlations
yielded a very interesting result (see graph below):

Graph One:
Correlations between
supervisors ability to motivate
their reps to greater sales
performance and reps ratings
of supervisors skills.

2 Motivation and the Three Drivers of Effective Coaching

What these correlations show is that a sales managers ability to coach (defined as help-
ing reps improve their skills) and to help reps in their career development are the two most According to Pink, having a
relevant skills that mangers can possess to motivate their reps to perform. Now, consider
sense of mastery (as well as
these correlations in relation to Pinks research. According to Pink, having a sense of
autonomy and purpose) is the
mastery (as well as autonomy and purpose) is the key to motivation.
key to motivation.

What is interesting is that the sales management skills that reps identify as most cor-
related to their motivation seem to also be the sales management skills that would help
EcSell Institutes findings
the reps develop mastery. That is, when a sales manager is adept at coaching a rep to
show that sales reps are most
improve their skills and achieve their career goals, the manager is helping the reps create
mastery of their role. Overall, there seems to be a strong consistency between Pinks
motivated by managers who they
findings that people are motivated when they are able to develop mastery, and EcSell identify as adept at helping them
Institutes findings that sales reps are most motivated by managers whom they identify improve their skills and achieve
as adept at helping them improve their skills and achieve their career goals. their career goals.

What is of further interest in this study is the disparity between the skills that the reps
identified as most important for their managers to have and the skills of their manager
that actually motivated them to perform better. When asked to rank the skills of their
sales managers in terms of importance, the reps identified their managers leadership,
product knowledge and industry/market knowledge as most important (see graph two

Graph Two:
Percentage of Reps that said it was very important for their supervisor to have
very strong skills in these areas.

2 Motivation and the Three Drivers of Effective Coaching

However, product knowledge and industry/market knowledge were the management

skills with the very lowest correlation to actually motivating a rep to achieve their sales
goal. What this disparity shows us is that even sales reps may not know the skillsets that
are most important for their managers to have in order to motivate them. They simply
know that they are more motivated when working with certain managers and less moti-
vated when working with others.

So reps may say that having a sales manager who understands the industry and products
is most important to them, but in reality, they describe their manager as more motivational The manager who is able to
when that manager is adept at coaching the rep to develop their skills and their career. coach their reps to improve
Ultimately, in motivating their reps to achieve the best results, the manager who is able their skills and help them
to coach their reps to improve their skills and help them develop their careers is likely to develop their careers is likely
be more effective than those managers who are well-versed in their industry, market and to be more effective than those
products. managers who are well-versed
in their industry, market and
High pay-off activities and behaviors lead to greater individual and team motivation; products.
motivation leads to increases in discretionary effort; and more discretionary effort leads
to growth in sales.

Lets now look at the three drivers that should dictate our activities and behaviors.

2 Motivation and the Three Drivers of Effective Coaching

Driver #1:
Utilizing the tools and processes within the 6 Pillars
to drive efficient processes and consistent outputs.

2 Motivation and the Three Drivers of Effective Coaching

PD#1: Management

People in organizations are always attached to the obsoletethe things that should
have worked, but did not, the things that once were productive, and no longer are.

Management is still and will continue to be an essential component of performance.

Think of a triangle and consider effective management processes as the foundation upon
which the rest of the performance elements are built. Without having efficient processes
and predictable outputs, there is no platform upon which to enhance the performance of
a team.

If one agrees with the above, the next logical step is to determine what needs to be
managed. To this end, through researching sales managers from across the U.S., EcSell
Institute has identified the most essential elements of sales management which we have
named the 6 Pillars of Sales Management Productivity. Every pillar should have pro-
cesses and tools attached to them that provide predictable results. This is not to say that
once they are set up, they are ignored. Technology and ongoing research will ensure the
pillars continually evolve, therefore constant attention needs to be paid to the effects of
these tools and processes to determine how they can be improved and executed more

The 6 Pillars of Sales Management Productivity

proper identification, screening and hiring the right talent to meet and exceed
the objectives of all positions within sales.

Research indicates that this pillar may be the most important management responsibility
for any sales leader. This is because there is simply no substitute for having the right
talent in your organization. It doesnt matter how efficient processes are, how strategic
plans are, or how profound coaching is; if you dont have the right people to follow
these processes, execute these plans or receive this coaching, then the organization is not
going to be successful. The right talent is simply the foundation of any top-notch sales

The process for getting the right talent into your sales organization falls into three key
areas. First is sourcing quality candidates, creating a talent pool from which you can
immediately pull when open positions arise. Second is screening for necessary traits,
ensuring that you are investing time in the candidates most likely to succeed. Third is
interviewing candidates, using 1-to-1 behavioral-based interview, team-based interviews
and validated assessments in order to identify the people that have the talent and fit to
be effective in your organization.

2 Motivation and the Three Drivers of Effective Coaching

PD#1: Management

The 6 Pillars of Sales Management Productivity (cont.)

developing a measurable sales process that meets the needs of a companys products
and market, and then training to maximize a teams ability to execute the methodology.

Over 80% of businesses claim to have a sales methodology. This is to say they have
a systematic process for selling that can be tracked via activity and performance
milestones. This process also allows a sales leadership team more opportunity to be
effective in training to this specific method. Due to the fact most sales departments
utilize a methodology, were going to focus on that 80% and what they can do to get the
most from their existing process.

1. Dont just traindevelop your team: Training is more beginner oriented. It focus-
es on utilizing best practices or working on creating new skillsdisciplines around
tools and processes. Learning and development is more advanced work. Improving
the intellectual capital of those on your teams is more dynamic, forward looking,
catered to the needs of the organization and the individual. Its not just teaching
skills sporadically, its constantly coaching the abilities of your reps to perform more
effectively in their current sales role and their overall career.

2. Be disciplined to an ongoing development program: At least monthly, there should

be sales development sessions for all your sales people. These sessions can be run by
management, best practices can be shared by other sales people, or you can ask ven-
dors to share valuable information.

3. Track compliance: It would be ridiculous to have a sales methodology and not track
whether, and to what degree, your team is following the process. If compliance is an
issue, you better start asking questions and figuring out why.

4. Allow for complexity/creativity in the sales methodology: Dont make the process
so rigid your producers dont have a chance to explore ways to make it better. A sales
methodology that is not continually evolving will eventually become obsolete.

5. DO NOT put your reps through sales training without managers going through it
as well: Managers must critically understand all the intricacies of your methodolo-
gy in order to effectively coach to it. Sales training that doesnt have consistent and
ongoing support through management coaching loses it impact in short order.

2 Motivation and the Three Drivers of Effective Coaching

PD#1: Management

The 6 Pillars of Sales Management Productivity (cont.)

define what key performance indicators track productivity, effectiveness and how to
utilize them to direct education, training and planning.

If you allow them, analytics will paint you a picture, provide guidance and strategic
direction, they will provide you the opportunity to be a more effective sales coach.

Thinking about the above reminds us of a quote from Mark Twain the man who
does not read books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them. Just
because you track analytics doesnt make you better. Just because you have the latest
CRM or analytics software package doesnt make your organization more productive.
Just because you review pipeline doesnt mean you will forecast or sell with greater
effectiveness. It is the actions you take as a result of interpreting analytics that will
ultimately affect productivity. Analytics should be categorized into three areas:
1. Sales activity metrics: calls, needs assessment meetings, presentation, closes, etc.
2. Customer metrics: engagement, likelihood to leave or stay, experience
measurements, etc.
3. Sales Pipeline: length of sales process, avg proposal size, trending, etc.
4. Compliance: both sales reps and coaches entering timely and accurate data

Management teams should meet weekly to discuss the above in detail. But, it is not the
conversation that will move the needle, it is the strategy and resulting action that will
determine your analytics as worthy versus a waste of time.

2 Motivation and the Three Drivers of Effective Coaching

PD#1: Management

The 6 Pillars of Sales Management Productivity (cont.)

the understanding and design of programs that not only drive and incent the proper
behaviors, but also meet the evolving demographic and psychographic needs of
your sales department.

Simply put, this is a ticket to admission. Compensation can temporarily impact some
activity/behavior of sales people, but it is proven that this is not a primary long-term
motivator. However, if compensation is not competitive in the eyes of the market, it can
become a reason someone would leave or not join a team.

It is also important to provide salespeople with recognition for successes theyve earned.
Indeed, being recognized for a job well done is the one thing for which reps consistently
rely on from their managers, regardless of their tenure with the organization. Indeed,
even the most tenured reps find recognition from their manager to be nearly as import-
ant as new reps do. Therefore, you are encouraged to find ways to recognize rep success-
es whenever possible. Always conclude individual and team meetings with a review of
the previous weeks wins. Take the time to personalize recognition with a hand-written
note or by sending a letter to a reps family about their success. The best recognition is
often free, but is certainly essential to keeping your reps engaged in their current role
and advancing toward their next one.

2 Motivation and the Three Drivers of Effective Coaching

PD#1: Management

The 6 Pillars of Sales Management Productivity (cont.)

identifying and coaching toward career goals and objectives for each member of
the sales team to increase their productivity, loyalty and overall contribution to the
sales department.

Professional development is one of the most important, but also one of the most diffi-
cult, pillars to execute because it is so individualized. Effective professional development
requires an in-depth understanding of each of your sales reps; their needs, goals and
how to help them achieve them. To do this, you cant just create a process that works for
everyone. Rather you have to learn and plan for each individual.

Indeed, EcSELL Institute research shows a strong correlation between sales reps who
say their manager motivates them to sell more and sales reps who rate their manager
as very strong at helping them with their career development. This tie between effec-
tive career development and increased rep motivation shows us just how important this
pillar truly is.

Essentially, professional development is focused on creating an environment of growth

for each rep to meet the dual purpose of helping them accomplish their own career goals
and increasing their effectiveness so they can help accomplish the sales teams goals.
To this end, professional development activities are focused around the following three
Ongoing Education: the first key element of supporting reps professional development
is to ensure they are consistently exposed to information and ideas that will help them
improve their skills, both in relation to their current sales roles, as well as their long-
term career trajectory.
Clear Feedback: the second key element of ensuring professional development for
your reps is to provide them with clear and consistent feedback regarding their career.
In its simplest definition, this means to provide your reps with frequent (minimum of
quarterly) review of their performance.
Consistent Motivation: as stated earlier in this E BRIEF, EcSell Institute research has
shown a strong correlation between reps who report higher degrees of motivation and
those who receive effective career development from their manager. The simple acts of
coaching your reps to improve their skills and advance toward their career goals makes
them more engaged in their work and, therefore, more likely to perform at a high level.

2 Motivation and the Three Drivers of Effective Coaching

PD#1: Management

The 6 Pillars of Sales Management Productivity (cont.)

development of company sales plans, divisional plans, and territory plans; this includes
systematically planning how to increase sales department revenue, touch prospects and
customers on a consistent basis as well as obtain other departmental objectives.

Budgeting, strategic thinking, historic analysis, trendingand dont forget to close the
year strong! These activities and expectations consume the thoughts and actions of most
sales leaders entering the final quarter of every year.

Below are five fundamental sales management planning tips the EcSELL Institute has
found to be more effective than traditional planning methods.
1. Strategic thinking: it is not just reserved for the C Suite. Everyone on your team
has thoughts and ideas. Hold a team meeting, including reps, managers and execs,
where the topic should be forward thinking strategies. Handled the proper way,
you will receive more actionable thoughts than if it were an exec only meeting.
2. Setting goals: ask every sales rep, manager, executive to set their own goals, dont
give them their goals. The vast majority of the time, when goals are created by the
individual they exceed what is needed from the company.
3. Understand all goals: take the time to discover not just the professional, but also
the personal goals of everyone on your team. How can you help those on your team
make progress, without understanding why they are working with you? Use a form,
ask them to write it down, but learn what each individual wishes to accomplish.
4. Plans: if you want more structure to your plans, create a planning template for your
sales reps. This will ensure all topics you deem pertinent to performance are covered.
Having said that, dont hesitate to give them a blank canvas, for you may learn a
better way.
5. Sales management plans: most organizations have two types of plans: one for se-
nior execs and one for the reps. What about the layer in between? All sales coaches
should create a plan that outlines how they will hit their number. Make sure all items
that impact performance are covered, including the six pillars and coaching.

All of the above pillars can and should have tools and processes within each that allow
for operational efficiencies. Effectiveness and growth, however, is not solely determined
by a sales teams compliance to the above. As mentioned earlier, it is how one coaches
beyond management that will most impact long-term organic growth.

2 Motivation and the Three Drivers of Effective Coaching

Driver #2:
Establishing collaborative relationships with
individuals to influence and create positive change.

2 Motivation and the Three Drivers of Effective Coaching

PD#2: Leadership

The power of an individual is never as great as the collective power

of a well constructed team.
As we evolve toward a new way of getting our sales teams to perform, it is also time to
change our vernacular and concept of what it means to lead. In the industrial age, the
manager had the primary purpose of ensuring workers were following procedures that
led to predictable outcomes. In the truest sense of the word, the manager was managing
the processes and outputs. With the rise of servant leadership and related employee-
centric management theories in the 70s, the term leader became more commonplace.
Leaders werent just responsible for managing processes, they also needed to achieve
results through inspiring and guiding employees. In short, they led people in addition
to managing output. Now, with the rise of the knowledge economy, leaders must evolve
again. In order for sales departments to deal with the complexity of todays environment,
leaders also must be able to mine the ideas and intellect of those on their team by
pushing them to learn and grow like they never have before.

More and more thought leaders are now espousing the need to move away from a more
authoritative, top-down leadership style to one that is more collaborative. Todays
employees want to be part of creating the strategies, rather than just given the tasks to
complete. Just like flocks of geese flying in formation, teams with collaborative leaders
understand that at different times, different individuals need to take the lead. Collabora-
tive leaders have the humility to allow those around them to drive strategies, but also the
confidence to know when they need to take charge themselves. Collaborative leadership
does not insinuate there is no hierarchical structure, but rather, that hierarchy is not the
only way to influence outcomes.

Think of an organization like the human body. As a leader, you are the brain and your
team members are all the other vital organs in the body. As the brain, you certainly have
a significant influence on the function of the rest of the organs, but the organs can also
act without your conscious thought. While you are sleeping, your heart continues to
pump blood and your lungs continue to take in oxygen simply because of unconscious
signals the brain puts out. An organism as complex as the human body can run because
each organ is individually doing its job without you (the brain) having to consciously
tell them to do it. Similarly, its the unconscious signals you send out (the example you
set, the culture you create, the trust you have in your team) that often have much more
influence on the actions of your team than the words you use and the conscious choices
you make as a leader.

In an organization where roles are well-defined and people are encouraged to take ac-
tion based on their knowledge, there can be millions of decisions made that lead to the
greater outcome. But getting this kind of synergy and capturing the collective intellect,
knowledge and talents of the entire sales team is a challenge. When multiple people
are contributing to the overall goal, trust is paramount, relationships are vital and a 21
2 Motivation and the Three Drivers of Effective Coaching

PD#2: Leadership

well-defined vision is essential. When we all know what we are trying to achieve, we
can work together toward a greater outcome without having to discuss each decision we
are making. If we are each playing our role well and we ensure that relevant informa-
tion is passed on to the people that need to know it, we can function independently but
synergistically at the same time. And that is how a sales team can capture the collective
wisdom and abilities of the group.

As a sales coach, if you want to create a collaborative work environment, focus on the
following strategies:
Surround yourself with people who have a desire to work together. Look for
strong communication skills, confidence and a need to constantly learn.
Encourage strong relationships among your team. People will communicate
naturally when they actually enjoy talking to the people around them.
Listen to others ideas. Your team members are more apt to think innovatively and
contribute their thinking when you listen and take their suggestions to heart.
Support creative and innovative thinking. Encourage your team members to
experiment with different ways to achieve their goals.

In our complex and ever-changing world, capturing the collective wisdom of your sales
team and motivating them to contribute their individual leadership voice is essential.
One person simply cannot consider enough information, make enough decisions and
drive enough innovation to tackle all the new challenges sales departments face. A
collaborative leadership environment not only engages and motivates your team, but it
also multiplies strategic decision-making, the development of new ideas and, ultimately,
growth opportunities.

2 Motivation and the Three Drivers of Effective Coaching

Driver #3:
The Catalytic
Creating or embracing a catalytic element that pushes
people into the high-growth zone of complexity.

2 Motivation and the Three Drivers of Effective Coaching

PD#3: The Catalytic Factor

A sales team is perfectly coached for the results they achieve today.

When considering the significance of the catalytic factor (C-factor), one must also un-
derstand the relationship team environments play in performance and how they relate to
the newly discovered C-factor.

Every sales department, team, region, or division has an environment, or what some
might call a culture. And, this environment/culture was created and continues to be
perpetuated by the leadership and management acumen of that teams respective coach.
If your team is middle of the pack, look in the mirror. If your team has the lowest mar-
gins, look in the mirror. If your team complains and has excuses, look in the mirror. If
your team is #1give the credit to them (sorry, but thats just the way coaching works).
A coach needs to be acutely aware of their teams culture, how their behaviors impact
culture, but most importantly how to move to the highest performing culture.

To make the above occur there needs to be an understanding of how to intellectualize

a sales environment. Consider the four zones in the diagram below as descriptors and
barometers of different kinds of team environments. At the extremes, these environ-
ments can be described as bureaucracy or chaos. While these extremes are the an-
titheses of each other, they are similar in that, within each of these environments, peak
performance will not occur for most individuals and teams. For individuals and teams to
achieve and perpetuate peak performance, there are two zones in which cultures need to
be builtthe order and complexity zones.



2 Motivation and the Three Drivers of Effective Coaching

PD#3: The Catalytic Factor

Bureaucracy: Too many steps, permissions and minutia prevent and stifle any cre-
ativity and independent thought or action. As such, a bureaucratic culture severely
limits individual and team performance.
Order: Make 50 calls/week, set 10 meetings, move your prospects through the
funnel and X will be produced. This is the type of data that is tracked in a culture of
order. Keep in mind that order equates to management, where inputs are well known
and outcomes well predicted. Most organizations strive for order; predictability can
be highly desirable, and at times, very needed. The challenge with order is people
and organizations get stuck in this zone, and the longer in the zone the harder it is to
make changes that allow us to break away. Due to the ever-changing nature of our
world, business and markets, if teams spend too much time in order, opportunities to CHAOS
improve, adapt or stay ahead of the curve will blow by. COMPLEXITY
Complexity: We are operating in the complexity zone when we know inputs, but ORDER
are still not able to accurately predict the outcome. This is not to be confused with
something that is complex. Walk into the cockpit of an airplane and look at all the
instrumentationit is very complex, however, if procedures are properly followed
(inputs), the outcome is highly predictable. In complexity, where we dont totally
control the end result, we need a collaborative team environment where leadership is
occurring at all levels in order to have greater insight into outcomes. Science shows
the highest growth, exponential growth, only occurs while individuals and teams are
working in the complexity zone.
Chaos: This type of environment can be caused by internal or external events or
conditions. Mergers, acquisitions, poor or weak leadership are all examples of what
can lead to chaos. Little to no direction is given for anyone on the team. Very little
consideration is given to plans (inputs) and end results (outputs) are totally unpre-

For obvious reasons, lets quickly dismiss chaos and bureaucracy as zones in which we
want our teams to operate, and focus on order and complexity. Imagine a goal of 15%
growth for a team that has consistently produced only 8-10%. Up until now, growth has
not been easy, but it has been predictable. A team of seasoned, veteran sales people who
have a book of business, know their territories well and make a good six figure income.
Front-line sales managers have good relationships with those on their team and travel
with each rep several times a year, helping them get some big deals closed and keeping
up good relations with the biggest clients. What needs to change to hit the bigger num-
ber? More dials of the phone? Improved sales presentations? Better closing skills? How
many times can management ask salespeople to hold more client meetings, to work
harder? The above describes a sales team stuck in order.

2 Motivation and the Three Drivers of Effective Coaching

PD#3: The Catalytic Factor

The point of the previous example is not to offer an exact solution, but only to know
the path toward significant growth is not found in orderthe way you are doing things
today. The only way to hit the larger number requires a coach to move individuals and
the team into the complexity zone, and the only way to accomplish this is for a coach to
inject a catalytic factor.

To review real examples of a complexity culture and the catalytic factor in use, think of
Billy Bean and the movie/book Moneyball. Billy knew the current way the Oakland
As identified, acquired and developed baseball talent had a very predictable end result The only way to hit the larger
they may get to the playoffs, but stood little chance of winning a pennant or World number requires a coach to
Series, which to him was unacceptable. The As were stuck in ordersame inputs with move individuals and the team
predictable outcomes. So, to achieve a different result, Billy had to modify his inputs into the complexity zone, and
(change the way they identified, acquired and developed talent) without completely the only way to accomplish
knowing the end result. Though he couldnt have used the words at that time, Billy this is for a coach to inject a
moved his team from order to complexity. The result could have been a miserable failure,
catalytic factor.
losing many games; however, most know the eventual outcomehe changed forever the
way baseball teams are constructed.

To develop more of a complexity culture, coaches can also begin to employ the
catalytic factor with individuals. For example, a high performing medical sales rep
had recently become a first time mother when she and her manager met to discuss her
future goals. The manager did not want to lose his top rep, and the rep did not want to
lose her status of always being #1 or #2 in the company. She divulged to her manager
a fear of not being at the top, but also a fear of not being a good mother. She worked
longer hours than most and felt either motherhood, sales performance, or both would
slide. Her manager intently listened and perhaps to her disappointment, he agreed with
her. She could not run her territory the way she always had and accomplish her goals
of balancing motherhood and remain a top performer. However, if she approached the
way she sold and managed her territory differently, she may still be able to achieve the
outcome she wanted.

2 Motivation and the Three Drivers of Effective Coaching

PD#3: The Catalytic Factor

Together, coach and rep worked out a plan. The rep would only work four days/week,
leaving three day weekends for her husband and new baby. As opposed to selling most
everything in the field, she would now work the phones for selling the lower cost prod-
ucts. She became much more efficient with her time, letting clients and prospects know
when she would be in their geography and create a stronger urgency to meet while
there. There was obviously much more detail to this story, but the bottom line is that a
#1 rep changed how she prospected, sold and serviced her clients, and did it by working
only 80% of her typical hours. Neither she nor her coach knew what would happen to
her production (not to mention how the President would respond if he found out she This is the best news, for
took off every Friday). In this real life example, the new baby was actually the catalyt-
todays coach can elect,
ic element and she could have responded by doing nothing differently. Instead, she left
through implementation of
order and went into the complexity zone. The end result: she remained #1 the following
high pay-off activities, tools
year, setting a new sales record.
and behaviors (catalytic
elements) to move from
In a sales setting, new products, new methods for selling, personal life altering events,
ordinary, predictable results to
different coaches, and different ways of coaching can all be a catalytic factor being
extraordinary outcomes.
injected into individuals and teams. The EcSell Institute has worked with many orga-
nizations and sales coaches who were stuck in a single digit growth model due to their
unwillingness to move into the complexity zone. But, when the proper catalytic elements
were injected, they saw jumps in performance that led to sales increases as high as 28%
over historical growth. These increases happened as a result of improved coaching, not
because of outside or market influences. This is the best news, for todays coach can
elect, through implementation of high pay-off activities, tools and behaviors (catalytic
elements) to move from ordinary, predictable results to extraordinary outcomes.

The Underrated
Role in

3 Development: The Underrated Role in Performance

Never act like a finished product.

Nobody should be without a group of peers that can challenge the way you think and
act. Organizations such as Vistage (CEOs and Presidents), YPO (Presidents), and our
own EcSell Institute (executive sales leaders) are role-specific communities that are
dedicated to professional development. The performance of every team is a reflection of
how that team is coached, so if you dont improve the way you coach, you are in essence
saying I hope we grow next year, as opposed to here is why and how we will grow
...development is a multiplier
next year.
of the other performance
The above brings to mind a blog that we posted last year. Below is an excerpt:
research shows that good managers determine if people stay or go, and this is
also influenced by training and development. The education and training variable
is the most significant predictor of an organizations success as compared to price-
to-earning ratios, price-to-book statistics, and measures of risk and volatility.

What sales coaches need to believe is the professional development evolution begins
with them. Without growing their skills to better coach, they are by default, limiting the
growth of their teams. Development can come through experience, accelerated learning,
or ideally both. The sad part is the lack of resources being put against these important

The talent it takes to be great at coaching sales teams, in many ways, is the same talent
that can lead departments or entire organizations. Over 90% of sales managers surveyed
believe their organization has an obligation to provide development resources to sales
associates and more than 70% of companies put their money where their mouth is. 90%
of the same managers also believe their own development is as important or more
important than that of sales associates, yet only 40% do anything to improve. And, if
you broke that down further to improving the way they coach their sales teams, the im-
provement number falls below 10%. This is unacceptable, no matter how the numbers are
broken apart. The authors of this book arent thinking of a sales coach that would accept
a sales associate doing nothing to improve their skillswithout which, increases in sales
wont occur. Yet, sales execs accept this lack of improvement from their sales leadership

Companies concentrated only on hitting this quarters number are typically very
management/order focused, and will never understand the opportunity dollars they are
missing by not dedicating themselves to improving all aspects that drive performance. It
is a given that we cannot improve without learning, which is why growth only comes as
the result of seeking intentional opportunities to develop oneself. Accordingly, develop-
ment is a multiplier of the other performance elements.
3 Development: The Underrated Role in Performance

A Different View

Performance Equation
As with any model established through EcSell Institutes research, the end result must
always be increased performance. All the drivers reviewed in this E BRIEF can be
summarized in the form of an equation that illustrates how performance is achieved.
Within this sales performance equation all drivers are emphasized, for without
accounting for each, maximum results can never be achieved. This equation also
graphically illustrates how coaching comprises the ability to manage, lead and inject
catalytic elements while never forgetting development that will continually improve
ones overall coaching acumen.

(M + L + C) D = P

M = Managing 6 Pillars D = Development

L = Leadership P = Performance

C = Catalyst

Copyright 2011 EcSell Institute, Inc., all rights reserved.

Perhaps a more simplistic

graphic of performance
can be shown through a
performance pyramid,
where the pinnacle can only
be achieved by incorporating
all drivers of performance.

Both the sales performance equation and the performance pyramid were designed
to help sales leaders understand the need to be accountable and responsible for how
they impact results.



Mike and his team had already established themselves as a top distributor of medical
products. They had consistently driven increased revenue year after year, achieving over 13%
sales growth in the previous fiscal year. But with this growth in revenue came growth in the
size of his sales team, which ultimately led to new challenges.

To support his growing sales team, Mike hired and promoted new sales managers. Soon
thereafter, his company began to experience typical growing pains. Mike struggled with
letting go of more direct control of the team, the sales reps struggled to adapt to a layer
of leadership between themselves and Mike, and the new sales managers struggled to
learn the leadership skills they needed to be successful in an increasingly complex selling
environment. These challenges led to stagnant revenue, with the organization on trend for
less than 1% growth. For the first time, Mike was not going to achieve his goals, so he knew
he had to make a change.

To address these challenges, Mike formed a plan of action centered on improving his
managers coaching skills. The first step was to objectively measure his managers
coaching acumen and create a baseline from which to measure growth. Next, he and his
managers changed the sales reps compensation structure to increase both their upside and
accountability for hitting their sales goal. Then, to ensure proactive and thorough planning,
sales reps began doing quarterly business reviews with their managers and managers
created quarterly accountability plans. His managers attended educational coaching events,
and to ensure that they were more effectively coaching their reps selling skills, they began
using pre-call plans and conducting objective post-call reviews anytime they went on joint
calls with their reps. Overall, his managers learned how to motivate sales reps to improved

It took his team several months to institute all of these changes and he admits that it wasnt
always easy. The biggest challenge was getting the team to buy in to the new direction and
consistently utilize coaching best practices. But Mike and his sales managers continued to
follow their plan and their efforts paid off. Mike acknowledges, It was a lot of work. But we
were already working hard and not getting results. So it was much better to work hard and
see something for your efforts.

Less than a year after Mike and his team began implementing the coaching initiatives
they saw significant results. He again measured his managers coaching skills and the
results showed the culture of the sales team changed for the better. Sales reps received better
coaching and the environment was more collaborative; overall coaching scores improved
drastically. But most importantly, as a a result of better coaching, the sales results turned
around and the team achieved 22% growth over the previous fiscal year.

As the above true example outlines, each element of performance is essential in coaching
a team to achieve the pinnacle of performance. They build upon one another and yet are
interdependent in terms of producing desired outcomes. To perform at the highest level,
one cannot merely be a great manager who drives processes, but never captures the
hearts of employees. Likewise, even the best leaders who can effectively collaborate with
those on their teams, but never push them into the high growth mode of complexity,
will not be able to maximize results. It is only when sales coaches are able to effectively
manage processes, lead collaboratively, and coach their teams into complexity that they
will be able to enter the high performance zone. And after all, isnt performance what it
is all about?


Sales Performance Made Simple: Three Principles of Effective Coaching

About the Authors

Bill Eckstrom, President
As a former Senior Vice President of Business Development, Bill
empathizes with the role of sales managers and reps and the con-
stant need to be growing sales. EcSell Institutes approach rests on
the knowledge that development and performance improvement
should never cease, and as a result the relationship we have with
EcSell Institute provides strategies
our members continues on.
for continuous improvement by
showing our members how to apply
the latest research, technology, and
Sarah Wirth, VP Member Services
best practices in leadership and
sales coaching, and by involving
With over 12 years of experience in employee assessment,
them in a network of the top sales
leadership coaching, and customer service, Sarah has helped
management minds. Why? Because
hundreds of executives develop professionally and has assisted
we know that improving a sales
them with implementing programs directed toward increasing sales
results and profitability. managers ability to coach and lead
has the biggest impact on sales
team results.